Life moves fast in Leeched. The sludgy Mancunian grindcore trio only formed in early 2017 and already they have put out two releases, signed to Prosthetic Records and embarked on a headlining European tour, as well as touring alongside Employed to Serve. Leeched self-released their debut EP Nothing Will Grow From The Rotten Ground last year; a straight up grindcore rager. But their forthcoming album You Took The Sun When You Left explores new sonic territories. Astral Noize went to chat with them at Noiseboy Studios in Salford to find out more.
Leeched have only been active for about a year and a half. You already have two releases out and you’ve done a headlining tour. Where does all this insane momentum come from?
Laurie Morbey (bass and vocals): When we formed the band we discovered really quick that this was actual music we wanted to play. We’ve all been in other bands but weren’t vibing it as much. We really like this, we want to push it as much as we can. We don’t practice as much as most bands, but we’re active in the right areas and that lead to us very quickly getting some music down.
Judd Langley (guitar): We really knuckled down and smashed out the EP originally.
Tom Hansell (drums and vocals): The fact that people liked the EP was a drive to keep going. We started with a two-track demo of ‘Marrow’ and ‘Boar’ for which [the drums] were heavily programmed, but it was to test the waters and people liked the sound.
Laurie: We got really lucky with our first show with Boak, there were like 50 people at our first show.
Tom: We don’t even pull 50 people now!
Judd: Relentless touring. We played one Manchester show and then went off around the UK, playing weekenders.
The debut album You Took The Sun When You Left has been released through Prosthetic Records, how did this union come about?
Tom: [triumphantly] THEY FOUND US ON BANDCAMP!
Judd: One day I had an email through! It makes you feel good. It’s nice to know that labels actually care about smaller bands and actively search for them.
Laurie: They were obviously looking to make sure we were serious and had more to offer than just an album.
Judd: Some of my favourite albums as a teenager came out through Prosthetic, Trap Them, The Acacia Strain, so for them to offer a deal was pretty crazy!
When Leeched first started playing you did fifteen minute long sets, have you managed to beef up to 30 minutes yet?
Judd: We literally just played the EP from start to finish because that’s all we had and we didn’t want to play covers. We kind of liked playing the shorter sets. Don’t speak, feedback, play for ten minutes and then we’re gone!
Laurie: I would say that is a theme of the whole band, not saying any more than we need to.
Judd: Let the music do the talking, or the noise! We’ve been playing album tracks for the past few months now. On the February [headlining] tour we were playing half-written songs! It’s good to test the waters live and see what kind of reactions you’re getting. Doing it in a live environment is completely different to a practice room or in front of a computer. It gives you more insight.
Your first EP Nothing Will Grow From The Rotten Ground was just shy of ten minutes, but the album is remarkably different. It has sludgy bits, noisier bits, longer tracks, more dynamics. How did that change come into the writing?
Laurie: We had a lot more time to think about it.
Judd: We had more to work towards. With an EP you can just smash out a few tracks and bounce ideas about to find out what you’re doing. But with the album, we wanted to explore the sound a bit more. The EP is very grindy, but I just wanted to write a metal album essentially and not pigeon-hole it.
Tom: We aren’t a single genre band now. The EP was very grindcore. We had so many grindcore fans from the EP, and we thought this is a great scene and it’s doing great at the moment, but we don’t want to label ourselves as a one genre band. So in the album we’ve gone from really slow heavy riffy bits to still extremely fast grindcore bits. There’s going to be at least 30 seconds of the album that somebody is going to like!
Laurie: That’s enough if it’s grindcore! We experimented a lot with synths and stuff as well.
Tom: Samples have become a big thing nowadays. Everything on the album you will hear live.
Both of your releases have been recorded with Joe Clayton at No Studio, how did you find your experiences recording there?
Judd: He’s a really good guy and knows exactly what he is doing.
Laurie: Good friend of ours too!
Judd: He’s completely on the same page as us when it comes to tracking, recording and what we want to achieve. He knows exactly what we want to do so it makes it so much easier. Because there are only three of us, having a fourth pair of ears to give input helps.
The album has some really interesting titles and lyrical concepts. Firstly, what does the album title mean and where did it come from?
Laurie: It doesn’t really mean anything. There wasn’t really a specific inspiration for it. Like I was saying before about not really saying any more than you need to.
It’s quite a striking title though, isn’t it?
Laurie: That was the point.
Judd: We wanted something that stuck, that’s going to stay in your mind. Like the EP title, it’s not very chirpy, is it? So we kept that running theme, we aren’t going to write a happy album y’know!
And secondly, there are tracks like ‘By The Factories’, ‘Harrow The Pastures’, and especially ‘Hollow Point Weddings’… What are those songs about?
Laurie: [‘Hollow Point Weddings’] is loosely based off the town Flint in Michigan [US] which has a water crisis. The idea of depravity. Flint is a very deprived town and if you have a wedding in Flint, there are probably going to be guys with pieces knocking about.
When we listened to ‘By The Factories’, we thought that might be about Manchester…
Laurie: It’s not about Manchester, but it does have that sort of industrial theme… I suppose it could be about Manchester!
Judd: It’s what you want to make of it. It’s all down to interpretation at the end of the day.
Leeched has a very strong visual aesthetic and social media presence. How important is it today for underground bands to stand out on social media?
Laurie: It’s probably the most important thing. I don’t think you can call yourself an underground band if you don’t have a social media presence. If you want to be underground that’s fine, but if you want to get to a wider audience you have to be on it.
Judd: The majority of people are on it. I find loads of bands through it. It’s key. Even for shows, nobody’s going to know otherwise.
Laurie: That’s how I know we’re being active in the right way, because a lot of people say quite often we have a good social media presence.
One thing Leeched do well on social media, you aren’t just saying “We’re playing this gig, come down”, it’s actually very artistic what you post on Facebook and Instagram.
Tom: I just want it to be not so much an aesthetic, but eye-catching and in-your-face. Every single music video we’ve done has been in black and white, as well as everything we post on social media. We post what we need to post, we’re not going to post for the sake of posting. We’ll just post, and it’ll hit hard. People won’t have heard from us for two weeks but they’ll know when we’re posting it’s going to be important. If you want progression right now, you have to reach out through other means than real life. Social media does that.
Judd: It’s so hard to get people to listen to your music, you have to do everything you can.
The album comes out on August 24th, and you’re playing Damnation Festival in November, what else can we expect from Leeched in the future?
Laurie: Fall in the Brawl [Festival at Rebellion, Manchester] is coming up.
Tom: Six days with Full Of Hell and Break the Chains Festival [August 20-25, UK tour].
Judd: We have other announcements coming up soon, but don’t want to spoil them!
You Took The Sun When You Left is out 24th August on Prosthetic Records. Purchase here.
Words: Chris “Frenchie” French
Photo Credit: Polarise Photography